Where to find free or low-cost psychiatric help?


Not sure where to post this. My niece is having some issues. Not sure if they are drug-related, psychiatric related, or a combination of both. She doesn't have health insurance and I'm trying to figure out a way for her to see a psychiatrist or someone who might be able to help. I don't think she'll go to an NA meeting but she seemed open to talking to someone. I have no idea how to find help for her. Any ideas?


Well-Known Member
Every county has a low cost, sliding scale clinic. I used one for years
It was great! Does dhe qualify for Medicaid?

If she is religious at all, or open to a religious slant, there probably a way to get low cost to free counseling through a local church.

NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill would also have ideas. Urge her to call the nearest one.


Thank you. I don't think she's religious at all. Her mother who is an alcoholic just lost the insurance they were on, so I'll have to tell her to see if she qualifies for Medicaid. The whole situation is a mess. This is a niece I really haven't had much contact with in years. Saw her this weekend and I can tell she's trying to reach out for help. I don't live in the same state so I'll pass this info onto another family member.


Well-Known Member
Her mother who is an alcoholic
If it were me I would start with Al Anon, the 12 step group which is an offshoot of AA for family members of alcoholics, etc. In addition to what the others recommend.

That would be a good way to start. If she has her own substance abuse issues, she will find her way to another group as well, g-d willing.

A 12 step group is not mental health counseling. It is support, community, a way to understand life, etc.

If she lives where there is a university medical school they have psychiatric clinics with sliding scale services.

A county hospital should have a psychiatric clinic which might have sliding scale services.

If she is in college there is a counseling center that will be free.

If she has drug or alcohol issues County Mental Health will have a Substance Abuse department.

If she is not working or low income she can apply for medicaid. Actually, she should do this.


Well-Known Member
Most (all?) states have a state-supported healthcare system, over and above Medicaid. Some are for minors only, some include adults.

In Iowa, for example, we have is CHIP and I-Hawk.

There are sometimes also emergency medical programs for people who don’t otherwise qualify for Medicaid or a state healthcare insurance. This is for a short amount of time, a few months, for most people.